GARY'S PHOTO GUIDE TO THE BLUE MOUNTAINS, AUSTRALIA.
"This is a guide I would have really appreciated when I first started photographing the Blue Mountains, Australia over a decade ago." - All info and images © Gary P Hayes
For first timers to the mountains I recommended you also read my introduction guide A Landscape Photographers Guide to Visiting the Blue Mountains Australia which helps break down the geography and refers to many of the locations below. It is aimed at new and/or visiting photographers to help them find good locations for their photography - and who have limited time such as a single sunrise or sunset visit.
Click the images below to be taken to a dedicated page with (a) An interpretive photograph of the location by Gary (b) a short description of the photo opp (c) brief notes on what type of lenses or accessories to bring (d) Detail on how to get from the embedded Google Maps position to the actual shooting location
GRADING (level of difficulty of access)
Grade 0 = car park at location Grade 1 - Easy flat walk Grade 2 - Longer walk on an easy trail, some gradients or steps Grade 3 - A moderate grade walk on rougher track, steeper gradient Grade 4 - A walk for an extended period often on rocky steep terrain Grade 5 - A long trek on very rough terrain, spots off recognisable trail
NOTE: An alternative view of the areas below as MAPS VIEW with clickable location markers
KATOOMBA AREA - Gary's Photo Spots
Katoomba is notable for its south facing escarpment, roughly following Cliff Drive and various key points along that include Prince Henry Cliff walk lookouts, through to echo point, across to Scenic World and Katoomba Falls gully and then onto more wilder areas around Narrow Neck and Nellies Glen. There are various walks down to the Jamison Valley floor passing many great waterfalls. North Katoomba (Yosemite) has a few treats such as Minnehaha Falls amongst others. NOTE: Lookouts near Cahills and Boars Head are still out of bounds due to the fires there last year.
BLACKHEATH AREA - Gary's Photo Spots
Blackheath is special as it accesses the western and southern aspects of the Grose Valley (and Govetts Gorge). So particularly good at sunrise from Evans, Govetts, Pulpit and Hanging Rock through to more sunset spots like Anvil and on the other side of the plateau Hargraves (which overlooks the cultivated Megalong Valley). Plenty of glens, waterfalls and smaller lookouts on the Megalong, Shipley side too.
LEURA AREA - Gary's Photo Spots
Leura south is really an extension of the eastern side of Katoomba and many walks join up, such as Federal Pass underneath the Three Sisters into the wonderful Leura Forest and some special waterfalls. The biggest tourist area is Leura Cascades here which, if you keep walking, gets a bit more rugged as it heads down into the valley past Bridal Veil and Weeping Rock. On the northern side Mount Hay Road takes you into more rugged and wild areas onto the eastern ridges of the Grose Valley which are great at sunset.
WENTWORTH FALLS AREA - Gary's Photo Spots
Most of the activity is on the southern edges of the Jamison and the main Wentworth Falls via the National Pass and up through the Valley of the Waters. Some of the most photogenic falls are in this area. North there is a nice lake for reflections and one of the most popular sunset spots a few kms east at Lincoln's Rock.
MOUNT VICTORIA AREA - Gary's Photo Spots
At the end of the main strip so to speak, this area is very special and has a lot to offer, I know because I live here. On the eastern side access to the upper ends of the Grose and fantastic spots above Victoria Falls such as Asgards Head for example, while on the western escarpment many lookouts over the Kanimbla Valley great at sundown. Quite a few caves are on offer too.
LOW AND MID MOUNTAINS AREA - Gary's Photo Spots
Often overlooked by visiting photographers as the landscape is a lot 'smaller' than Wentworth Falls and beyond but it still has a lot to offer. The many unique falls around Lawson and Hazelbrook, some very interesting escarpment views over the Napean lower down in Lapstone areas plus a few secret spots accessing the eastern end of the Grose Valley too.
LITHGOW AND OBERON AREA - Gary's Photo Spots
A bit amiss of me to group this large area into one grouping but it sort of works. Lithgow is more than just a mining town and although it's main city attraction for photographers is the Blast Furnace, on it's door step are some amazing places yet to be fully represented by photography. Newnes and Ben Bullen State forest are not protected under the Gardens of Stone umbrella, yet, but if you have a decent 4WD have treasures inside. To the west of Lithgow the rolling Kanimbla Hills and Hartley nestled on the plateau and further out the more wilder and rugged areas of Kanangra, whose main entrance is actually very close to Jenolan Caves areas. Snow often falls first in this corner of the region too.
GARDENS OF STONE AREA - Gary's Photo Spots
Although the Gardens of Stone NP is a very defined area I have used it here to describe a wider area encompassing Capertee and Wolgan Valleys plus areas in a proposed extension for the Gardens of Stone which includes Ben Bullen and Newnes State Forests and other areas close by.
BELLS LINE / EXPLORERS RANGE / NORTHERN GROSE - Gary's Photo Spots
The areas on the north escarpment of the Grose Valley are relatively un-photographed but provide amazing new vistas. But the general area includes Mount Wilson and also down towards Mount Tomah
WATERFALLS - Gary's Photo Spots
A selection of the many varied and wonderful Waterfall locations in the Blue Mountains - I know around 150 in total so this is a big subset of the main and more accessible ones
SUNSETS - Gary's Photo Spots
I get a lot of requests for specific locations at sunrise or sunset and to the uninitiated it is hard to find them on the main south facing Great Western Highway, so these are spots specifically pointing mostly west at the golden hour.
SUNRISE - Gary's Photo Spots
I get a lot of requests for specific locations at sunrise or sunset and to the uninitiated it is hard to find them on the main south facing Great Western Highway, so these are spots specifically pointing mostly east at dawn and sunrise